The DAISY Planet has published a useful update on the Born Accessible Content Checker from DZB in Germany. Using the Ace by DAISY accessibility checking tool, BACC is a web application which allows publishers and publishing service providers to check the compliance of ebooks in the EPUB format. To read more about this initiative from the German Central Library for the Blind you can access DAISY’s article in the Planet Newsletter.
It’s been a busy year for Inclusive Publishing and, as we look forward to 2019, Richard Orme, CEO of the DAISY Consortium, reflects on some of this year’s successes for accessible publishing and our industry.
As an industry hub and news portal, InclusivePublishing.
We’ve been pleased to report on some terrific events this year as accessibility becomes a major focus for publishers worldwide. In March we presented the Ace tool at ebookcraft in Toronto. The London Book Fair in April saw the 10th Annual Accessibility Action Group seminar focus on Strategies for Success and we were proud to stand alongside other industry stalwarts on the podium. June saw our DAISY Symposium entitled Building Bridges for Better Access, which focused on the accessible study materials.
In October we covered the new-look Digital Book World and we were delighted to play a major role at this exciting event. We are already looking forward to next year! And the Accessing Higher Ground conference in November was a huge opportunity to hear from a wide variety of publishers about the strides towards inclusive publishing practices.
The DAISY Consortium now maintains and develops EPUBCheck, the conformance validator for the EPUB format. We rounded off the year by reporting on the release of version 4.1. EPUBCheck is overseen by the W3C and funded by generous contributions from across the digital publishing landscape.
We’ve been very lucky to work with some top-quality authors this year and our thanks go to all of them for their contributions and news updates. From event reports to opinion pieces, we’ve been fortunate to be able to publish some terrific pieces of extremely high quality. In addition, we have been delighted with the response to our new interview pieces: Inspiring Words from Industry Leaders. Our interviewees are indeed an inspiration and we will be adding to this stellar line-up in 2019.
Accessibility has been a common thread in conversations across the publishingindustry for quite a few years now, but from anecdotal evidence 2018 appears to mark the start of something special—widespread mainstream adoption of accessibility. This reflects the changes we have seen and supported in accessible content creation and validation, but also throughout the supply chain, with a positive impact on education services, reading systems and the metadata which makes the whole process function.
It’s very important to us that we continue to support the wider industry on this journey towards inclusive publishing, and with this in mind, we have created a short end of year survey so that we may take a snapshot of our community. We’d be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete the survey (now closed) and to help us gauge where we are, and also to report to you all on how we are progressing as an industry. Our thanks to all those who have completed this already—we look forward to sharing the anonymous results with you all soon.
We look towards 2019 with perhaps more optimism and enthusiasm than previous years. It has been wonderful to see how the industry has responded to our InclusivePublishing website and newsletter, and we hope that you will all continue to support us—we rely on your input and are very grateful for it. There are some exciting developments we look forward to sharing with you next year, and we will continue to publish both technical and non-technical information to cater for all our readers in this way.
We wish you all a very peaceful holiday and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.
After the success of the France’s National Day on Access to Books and Reading: Let’s Find Solutions Together , BrailleNet, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Book and Reading and The National School of Sciences of the World and libraries (Enssib) join forces again to organize the first National Accessible Digital Book Meeting.
With lectures in the morning and practical workshops in the afternoon, publishing professionals will be able to:
- stay informed about industry developments to extend accessibility to all
- become familiar with and / or improve their knowledge of digital accessibility
- share their experiences and expectations
The event is aimed at all book and reading professionals and includes a session entitled: Ace by Example where Luc Audrain (Hachette Livre) and Fernando Pinto (EDRLab) will look at what the Ace by DAISY tool can test for and at the consequences of nonconformities for the reader.
January 17, 2019
Enssib, Villerbanne, France
Digital Book World 2018 took place at the beginning of October – re-imagined and re-invented by its new owners Score Publishing, in Nashville Tennessee, home to many music legends and now to a major publishing conference.
Ace developer and DAISY speaker, Marisa DeMeglio presented the session Accessibility in Modern Publishing Workflows on the second day of the conference.Very much a discussion style session, Marisa spent some time describing the work that DAISY focuses on internationally and the impact it has had on digital publishing, in particular. Demonstrations of various types of reading experiences highlighted the need for accessible mainstream ebooks and it was clear that EPUB can solve many challenges provided developers make full use of the accessibility features that are available to them within the standard.
Marisa showed delegates Ace by DAISY, the free open source EPUB accessibility checking tool from the DAISY Consortium which can be integrated within publishing workflows at any stage of production. The release of the new Drag and Drop version, for which there is huge interest, is on the horizon and it was exciting to be able to update the audience on this. Demos of Ace together with The Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base showed publishers that accessibility is entirely achievable within their mainstream content.
Marisa also discussed SMART, the Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool, designed to guide users through the manual checking process that Ace highlights. Available to vendors and publishers via DAISY partners as part of a consulting or audit service this latest tool from DAISY was greeted with much enthusiasm.
The Digital Book Awards saw an array of awards including the Innovation in Accessibility Award for which DAISY was a finalist. Our congratulations to the winner of this award, Amazon Alexa and to the other finalists in this category.
Inclusive Publishing looks forward to hearing plans for DBW 2019.
Inside the Syndicat National de l’Édition (SNE), the French publishers’ association, a technical group “Norms & Standards*” has been formed to work on standardization for the digital world, bringing together publishers, booksellers, the BnF and the Electre and Dilicom companies, to reflect on the implementation of standards which are shared by all.
The group organizes practical workshops aimed at informing SNE members about standardization and monitoring technical developments. In France, EPUB accessibility is taken very seriously by the publishing industry and for the second year running the annual workshop of the N&S group has focused on this subject.
Lead by Luc Audrain, the N&S group held it’s workshop on Thursday 5th of July to provide SNE members further in-depth knowledge of EPUB accessibility.
This year, the group showed that with existing production and validation tools, it is indeed possible to achieve a high level of mainstream accessibility in simple books like novels.
The audience had the opportunity to discover :
- on which international standards EPUB accessibility is based and which major organizations are involved, like the DAISY Consortium
- how to practically encode accessibility in EPUB content, following the EPUB Accessibility Techniques 1.0 document
- How to use Ace by DAISY to avoid evident errors through a live demo
- How Indesign EPUB3 export can be used and how much work afterwards is necessary to bring the file to pass Ace
- what training and financial support might be available
This slide shows the perfect technical validity from Ace (Accessibility Checker for EPUB) for this EPUB3 file exported from InDesign. All the steps described in the presentation are also available on the SNE website (in French) at the Norms & Standards page together with group documentation from the day’s event.
As a reminder, the N&S workshop from last year was covered by DAISY in their newsletter:
*Members come from publishing houses and also from the national library (BNF), the Ministry of Culture, booksellers, books in print database, and include a blind EDRLab employee Fernando Pinto da Silva.
This event report was kindly submitted by Alistair McNaught, Accessibility Inclusion Specialist at JISC and one of the presenters at the AAG Seminar this year.
This year’s accessibility seminar felt ‘all grown up’ as if a milestone had somehow been passed. There were, in fact, two major milestones – the 10th anniversary of the Publishers Association Accessibility Action Group was one. The 150th anniversary of the RNIB was – appropriately – the other.
But the sense of maturity was more than a sense of age; it was also a sense of accomplishment. The Accessibility seminar has consistently fielded a great line-up of topics. Usually, there’s an element of aspiration, a sense of what the future could look like or signposts pointing towards it. This year’s topics went further. They were all about now; the tools you can use now, the publishers who are now prioritising accessibility and the information universities and colleges need now to help inform their support for disabled students.
Emma House, Deputy Chief Executive of Publishers Association and long-time coordinator of the Accessibility Action Group, introduced and chaired the session.
Richard Orme (CEO of the DAISY Consortium) introduced the new ACE by DAISY tool. Whilst EPUB 3.1 – the latest version of the EPUB standard – is the most accessible format yet it “has enough flexibility that it’s still possible to inadvertently create inaccessible content”. The ACE by DAISY checker examines a file and reports on WCAG accessibility issues, metadata (especially the accessibility metadata), outline structure, image descriptions etc., and creates a report on the file’s accessibility, complete with contextualised links to a knowledge base. A complementary tool – SMART, the ‘Simple Manual Accessibility Reporting Tool’ takes the outputs from ACE and configures a test plan for manual review. Finally, a Reading Systems evaluation protocol has been developed to check the accessibility of the reading system your file might end up being delivered through. This allows publishers to make recommendations for readers about the tools to use (or maybe the ones to avoid). Finally, Richard reminded the audience of the Inclusive Publishing website – a hub for advice and guidance on best practice for accessible content. So, with a highly accessible file format (EPUB 3.1), free tools to audit your content, a tool to evaluate the platform destinations and a knowledge hub… the barriers to being an accessible publisher are lower than ever.
Alistair McNaught, one of Jisc’s accessibility and inclusion specialists, launched the ASPIRE project, a collaboration between publishers, aggregators and university libraries to provide plain English information on the accessibility features of e-book files and delivery platforms. The project provides the publishing industry with two months advance notice of a crowd-sourced audit of publisher and aggregator accessibility statements. If you don’t know what disabled customers need to look for the ASPIRE website will give you an excellent overview. If you do know, it helps focus your efforts on making the information available in an easily discovered way. The thrust of Alistair’s session was that “even if your accessibility isn’t great, knowing what does and doesn’t work allows disability support staff triage problems and prioritise solutions.” Alistair, a lactose-intolerant vegetarian, claimed that it is “easier to find out whether a £1.99 pie is suitable for my dietary needs than it is to find out if an ebook collection, costing thousands, is suitable for a dyslexic’s study needs”. The ASPIRE project should help the industry to make such inequality a thing of the past.
Luc Audrain (Head of Digitalisation, Hachette Livre) is not just an ‘early adopter’ but potentially the very first to incorporate the ACE by DAISY tool into a mainstream publisher workflow. This achievement earned Hachette an Inclusive Publishing award two days earlier. Luc started by identifying a spectrum of publication types depending on their semantic structure and whether they are driven primarily by content or layout. Plotting these on a scattergraph proved a fascinating way of identifying a range of accessibility opportunities and challenges.
Hachette’s work involved adapting their current workflows for fiction books to create “born accessible” EPUB 3. For this category of books, Hachette defined a specific profile of EPUB 3 they called “EPUB 3 Text”. The choice of EPUB 3 format was down to several factors including, a better user experience, better typographic layouts, better accessibility, a modern web technology with full market support. In 2016 Hachette tweaked their existing workflows so that the page layout XML fed an EPUB 3 work stream with epubcheck validation, and at the beginning of 2018, they have added accessibility validation using ACE by DAISY.
Huw Alexander, (Digital Sales Manager, SAGE) hosted the final session on “failing better”, encouraging the industry to create a culture of responsiveness and experimentation. He stressed the importance of management buy-in, not least in order to bring coherence to the processes so that everybody knows the part they play. SAGE has an excellent reputation for customer service, aiming at 24-hour turnaround but this level of responsiveness needs planning. SAGE has an accessibility working group within the company to help coordinate the vision of making content that works for everyone. This includes focusing on the user experience and moving mindsets from a niche customer service to a mainstream approach. Huw’s takeaway points included
- have a long-term view, a pipeline for improvement,
- acknowledge that some things are harder to do than others. You might fail to sort some issues, but make a point at succeeding at others,
- don’t be afraid of small steps, enough small steps lead to a big change for the user.
- Don’t be lonely. Learn from others, network and seek help. Stand on the shoulders of giants.
Emma House wrapped up the session and reminded us that it was the RNIB’s 150th anniversary and the Accessibility Action Group’s 10th anniversary.
The journey has not yet ended.
But we’ve made a good start.
Since 2013, BIC (Book Industry Communication) has run a series of informal, monthly breakfast sessions to provide an opportunity for anyone to discuss publishing, book supply chain issues, successes, and challenges of interest or concern within the book industry. Experts are invited along to share insights and swap ideas. Providing an overview of ebook accessibility, this BIC Breakfast will inform attendees about what is involved in the production of accessible, digital products and what organisations should consider when producing them. Richard Orme, Chief Executive Officer, DAISY Consortium will present Ace by DAISY which enables organisations to validate their EPUB files against internationally-recognised standards for accessibility.
April 25th, 2018
The Poetry Café, London, U.K.
For details on how to register BIC has set up a page on eventbrite